ten years

ry400Our love story- how we met to how we married- in case you’re new here…I wrote it all out on our 5 year anniversary.   Part 1- the meet, Part 2- first east coast sighting, Part 3-Embury Ave, Part 4-the smiley face text, Part 5-will you be my girlfriend, Part 6-cubic zirconia, Part 7-i think i might throw up, Part 8- no bows, no silk, no tulle, Part 9- dollar store bamboo, Part 10-the one with the bullet points, Part 11-ode to my wedding planner, Part 12- i was made for this.

Well that was fun.  I just reread the whole story of us and felt like I was right back in it…hard to believe ten years have passed.  At the same time I love that ten years have gone by, because I’m so grateful that we still love each other so much.  What a gift.

And this year, this October, is different than every other one.  We’ve been given the gift of time for this ten year anniversary.  Unemployment has its benefits.  We get to be together all day, every day and while those that know me, know that being glued to any person nonstop isn’t my favorite… this is, no doubt, a special time for us to connect and relax.  I love who we are together.  I love our love.  I love us.

When I think about our wedding day I smile.  I chuckle when I remember how we talked about being ‘older’ when we tied the knot…and now I think, gosh 26 is so young!  I giggle when I think how different from each other we were back then, and how we’ve still maintained many of those qualities and yet- it still works.  I am speechless when I think about where God has taken us throughout the last ten years…6 moves, 8 jobs, 4 adoption journeys, 3 kiddos- I cannot imagine what the next ten years hold, but I imagine I should just hold on tight.

Instead of writing a birthday post, I’m just going to include my ode to 38 year old Bart here…just as we included it in our wedding.  My husband is my favorite person to celebrate.  His faithfulness to me and our vows has never wavered.  I love watching him continually grow and change and mature- in ways I never even realized he needed to.  It’s amazing how love grows and matures if we embrace the changes in each other and continue to celebrate who we are.  I love who Bart is.  I love the way he laughs and the tender way he cries.  I love the freedom he feels to just be himself.  I love his steadfast devotion to Jesus and how he craves to know more about God daily.  I love his sensitivity and his over-thinking.  I love his weird quirks and his ever-evolving style.  I love his desire for righteousness and his honesty.  I love how he cares for people and his patience with each one.  I love to watch him with our children and how special he makes each of them feel.  I love the way he’s not afraid of anything, I love that he watches rom-coms even without me, and I love that he still longs to learn more about me.  I love his winks and his silent grin, his sweet smiles lines around his eyes and how his arm feels around me.  I love each hug and how our kids run to be included in our hugs whenever they see.  I love the freedom he gives me to be me.

I think I could keep going for pages and pages…I’m just so grateful to call this man my husband.  Happy Birthday Barty, Happy Anniversary my love.  I’d say we’ve spent the last ten years well.  I’m so glad I get to be with you, especially in this newest cross country adventure….California here we come!  With all that has happened in the last ten years, I can’t even begin to imagine what the next ten will hold.

what?! wait, what?!

Just to warn you, this post might shock you…since it’s content shocked us quite a bit, all the while feeling just right.

We are moving to California!

As most of you know, Bart lost his job in August and we’ve been chugging along…trying to enjoy this gift of time and choosing hope daily…knowing that God has always taken care of us and this time would be no different.  A few weeks ago, we felt like He was asking us what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go- and to simplify it down to a sentence- we chose Redding, California!!!

We have very few details to share so far and while we’re super sad to leave NJ family and friends, we are excited to see what is next!  If we can finish our mile long to-do lists, our house will be on the market by next week and we’ll see what happens from there.  Because there are a lot of unknowns, we don’t have a set timeline, but our hope is that we’ll be on the west coast by January?!?!  EEK!

Please pray for us- for a job for Bart, for a place to live out there, for the right buyer for our house, and for all the millions of details in between.

More to come as we know more…


Ps.  Just a PSA for all our east coasters: we are moving to Northern Cali…which looks like this- very different than LA/San Diego.  And in case you don’t know, the state is LARGE so we are literally 9 hours + away from the true southern California.  We will be only 12 hours away from my hometown (Port Angeles, WA)…the closest I’ve lived to home in 14 years!!!  Yayyyyyyy!

most boring post ever.

You would think that with more time on my hands these days (boys in school, husband unemployed) I would be able to write more in this little space of mine, but alas… I am showing up less and less.

Case in point I’m trying to type this deep blog post and I’m hearing The Little Mermaid in one ear and my husband’s voice on the phone in my other ear and there’s no space to type.  These are the moments I wish this was a laptop and I could run away to another place. ha.

Anyway, aside from still holding onto hope that God has got us…which I’m daily thankful that He is leading us in this time…I’ve been dealing with random health issues such as shoulder pain, a root canal and next week…a tooth extraction.  Not anything I would choose to be included in my life at the moment, but in some ways the timing has worked out well because Bart is able to take over completely while I lay in bed.  Netflix and books have become my best buddies.

In between ailments I have gotten to use this free time to get things done that I wouldn’t otherwise.  I finally organized 2 years worth of outgrown boy clothes and started Maya’s baby book (ha! just 3 years behind).  I’ve read more books in this past month than probably the past year combined.  I started going to yoga.  My oldest started soccer…which I’m already tired of but November will be here before I know it (I heard that’s the end of the season).  I made a huge list of dinner options in my bullet journal but sadly that hasn’t translated to better meal-planning and executing cooked meals.  I get to sleep in pretty often still, even though school is happening thanks for my lovely husband.

I cannot believe it’s the end of September though.  What the heck?

Slow down Fall.  I want to savor this.


randomadical isn’t a word. i just sometimes get tired of just using the word random because it’s probably in 1/4 of my blog posts.  so i made up a new word.  and also i’m skipping capital letters right now.  not sure if that’ll stay for the entire post.  we’ll see.

this made me laugh yesterday…someone’s first week of working at Target.  seriously just click on it. do it.

i am loving my bullet journal.  it’s seriously addicting and so helpful for developing habits.  i might dedicate a whole blog post to it soon.  stay tuned.

also am intrigued by this technique for cleaning pots and pans… anyone tried it yet?

i may perhaps talk about this candle every single fall, but it’s worth the words…i haven’t tired of it yet, and i think i’ve been repurchasing Aunt Sadie’s apple pie candle for over ten years now.  best fall scent there is.  worth every penny.

I found this motherhood advice on a blog and it made me so thankful that someone once told me- ‘just be excited to see them every single day’.  Also- I remember feeling bad for my babies that I didn’t constantly chatter on at them about everything and nothing.  But after awhile I realized that it was okay to just be me.  “In the early days, I wish someone would have told me, “Calm down, sister.” As a new mom, I tried really hard to nail parenting. I may or may not have created a Power Point of masterpiece art with developmentally appropriate talking points for my infant. At the time I thought, “I’m not good at small talk. And you are supposed to constantly talk to infants to stimulate their vocabulary, right?” I didn’t want to miss opportunities for enrichment or growth.  If I were parenting anew, I would know to lean in. Be brave in the silence, love is enough. Just light up when they enter the room. That is all.” Written by Sara Laurel, on Design Mom blog.

in other news…I discovered that a Twix spread exists…think nutella but without the hazelnuts (which i despise) and add caramel and cookie bits?!?!?  Are you kidding me??  However, sadly it looks like its only available in the UK.  sad.  So sabrina, if you’re reading, try it for me!

i would love one of these twirly dresses for maya…but alas, i need a sale.  she has actually been requesting dresses these days, i fear soon that’s all she’ll tolerate.  so i’m pushing through the tears some days to make sure she won’t say no to jeans forever.  i don’t know how much longer i have.  she likes to twirl.

one of my favorite artists/companies (Rifle Paper Co) is having a little sale…if my husband had a job and i could order something, i’d love to grab this sweet little ice-cream print for maya’s room.  but there’s not really any decor in her room right now bc she takes everything off the walls so i’m not too pressed. ha.  for now, i’m using some of the wrapping paper/cards as inspiration for paintings…thinking fall and winter motifs.  so far i’ve painted the first coat of five different canvases.  let’s hope i keep going.

and that’s all folks.  sending a big shout out to my husband who just whisked the boys off on an adventure so i can enjoy a little quiet time while maya naps.  you’re the best, barty!



goodbye summer

It’s the last day of August and I’m not sure how I got here.  Today I stared out the window as our pool closed (I know, it’s early- I blame the ban on swimming after surgery) and wondered how in the world summer is gone.  I think it was just yesterday that I was writing up schedules and chore charts and ordering boardies and swimsuits to wear endlessly through the glorious season of summer.

I slept in almost every single day this summer.  I’m memorializing this because it was indeed one of the grandest things that happened.  Sure, I could recount all the wonderful memories of the last few months, but I have photos for that.  What I don’t have any record of is the fact that I got to sleep in A LOT.  I love sleep, possibly more than most other things.  Just bein’ honest.

This week is so weird.  My parents left on Sunday and it was sad to see them go, as always, but less painful this time because we know we’ll get to be with them in a few months.  Then yesterday our two boys went to the hospital for umbilical hernia repairs- something they were born with and had been on our radar to fix- but was pushed up quickly when we realized we don’t know how our insurance will look next month.  They did great…Regan actually much more chill than Josiah, but given their personalities, it actually wasn’t quite a shock.  And a day later, Jos still walks like an old man, hunched over with a grimace, while Regan is running around like lunatic and has to be reminded he just had surgery 24 hours ago- chill out.  Alas.

And then today I stared at the school supply lists, so thankful I had decided to tackle them early and everything we needed was downstairs, but it hit me that school is starting- next week?!  Part of me isn’t ready at all to give up this freedom, and part of me is so ready to embrace a schedule and routines.  I mean, I haven’t quite set up the homework station or anything crazy like that, but at least I’m half there, in my mind.

I’m sure all of you are wondering how my grand sticker system and schedule worked out…ok, I know probably not one of you remembered I actually did that.  I’ll be honest, I pinned every paper on our bulletin board, explained the whole dealio to the boys and pretty much the only thing I used all summer was the sticker system and not very regularly.  The schedule was completely pointless in the end because I realized, the whole point of summer is to not follow a schedule and it turns out, I’m really good at that.  We swam when we wanted to, beached it when we felt like it, snuggled up and watched movies whenever, had friends over, tackled special activities, baked, shopped…nothing was particularly scheduled and I loved it.  I love not having to be anywhere at any certain time.

But all good things must end for a time, right?  I can look forward to next summer- where I won’t bother with a schedule but I might try another sticker chart.

Currently I’m resisting the urge to remove all hints of spring/summer that cover my home at the moment…but soon, I will be quieting the place (I stole that from The Nester) and getting my mind ready to embrace the Fall.  I love sitting in bare, undecorated rooms for a few days…it builds up my anticipation and creativity.  I know, I’m weird.

So long summer.  It’s been an especially good one this year.  Thank you.

I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite pic of the summer…


…in case you’re wondering- thats husband, son, my dad, and son. *crying w laughter*

it’s taking a long time til my birthday

What started over 3 months ago as a little whiney “it’s taking a long time til my birthday” has become a full blown joke in our house, used for anything and everything we have to wait for.  As soon as Josiah celebrated his birthday, Regan couldn’t help but focus on his…which wasn’t coming for 3 long months.  Poor kid.  It’s gonna be like this forever- he has to wait the entire summer, every single year.  Luckily for him, this year…we celebrated almost a week early just because we could.

Happy 5th Birthday Regan Ocean!  I can’t believe you are my kid, you special little human.  You’ve had quite a year.  What I thought would start out with school turned into some sweet mommy-son bonding for a few more months until you decided you were ready to try school again.  What I love is the way you know when you’re ready…for anything.  From school to the diving board, to dressing yourself and going potty…it’s all in your very own timing.

I love your bright eyed giant smile face…I love your sad, shy ‘be careful with my heart’ face.  I love the way you greet people when they walk through our doors- like they are famous- like they are the most special people ever.  You know how to make people feel loved and appreciated.  I love listening to you encourage your siblings, at even the smallest of tasks like brushing teeth or putting garbage in the trash.  I love the way you lead Maya into all sorts of fun but then you can follow Josiah just as well.  I love how you’ll never turn down a kiss.  I love all your cuddles and your quirks…how you wear your t-shirts backwards and always go commando.  I love how excited you get when I bring home groceries and how you exclaim “this is just what I always wanted” even when it’s just goldfish crackers or the same yogurt I always buy.  It’s like each day, each hour can hold something fresh and new in your mind…and it’s such a special way to live.  I am learning from you- to look at each day and each experience as one to be cherished.  You are such a joy, kiddo.

I’ve really enjoyed watching you blossom as you asked to return to school later last fall, and loved listening to the little things you picked up.  You are such a parrot, it’s incredible.  I love the way you call people “babes” just because that’s what your daddy calls you…and I love watching you make people giggle, just by being you.  Your dancing is incredible…your voice and memory with song lyrics is seriously bomb…and since I finally succumbed to the inevitable and you are getting a drum set, guitar and microphone for your 5th birthday, I can’t wait to see what happens.  Music is in your bones and I’m so excited to see where God takes you in it.  You are a worshiper, it’s undeniable.

You are my only favorite morning person and I love starting my days with you Reegs.  Cheers to many more years of cuddles and giggles and being the loudest person in the world.  I love you to pieces!!



lost but not found

Well…since the last time I blogged, I’ve lost a kidney stone, Josiah lost a tooth, Maya lost her fro and Bart lost his job.  It’s been quite a month, if I do say so myself.

About two weeks ago, I felt a stomach ache coming on and by the middle of the night I was convinced it was appendicitis and decided to drive myself to the ER (it was easier than waking the kids and taking everyone there).  So there I sat at 4am, waiting for a CT scan and drinking way too many liquids to prepare for it, staring at a wall and trying to overhear the latest ER staff drama.  I declined pain meds just in case I needed to drive back home due to a false alarm, so those 4 hours went by v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y.  However, when the dr. finally returned with my results- I got rushed out there faster than ever, which was great.  So yes, a kidney stone was causing some lovely pain…not as bad or the same as 15 years ago when I had one, which is why I didn’t realize I was passing another kidney stone…but awful enough.  I drove myself to the pharmacy and by that time I was a tad hunched over and probably looked dire enough that the pharmacist filled my pain med prescription in record time and I was climbing into my bed soon after…where I frequented often for the next week.  All’s well now.  Phew.

Josiah lost a tooth yesterday, one that he’s been wiggling for soooooo long.  I was dreading it because I have a horrible record as tooth fairy performer…as in I’m pretty sure the last one he lost (he’s lost at least 8 teeth already) I said just leave on the counter because the tooth fairy isn’t psyched on using stairs.  hehe.  Anyway, after enduring a painfully over-televised swimming olympic evening I flopped into bed so exhausted, which of course, turned into laying awake for over an hour… but thankfully about 45 minutes in I remembered my tooth fairy deeds and sprinted downstairs to find a prize.  I settled on two dollars- way more than we’ve ever given but I was tired and didn’t want to search for coins.  A minute later I found myself arm deep under my son’s head and his giant stuffed bear that duels as his pillow.  My heart pounding as I literally was moving his head around to find the baggy containing his tiny tooth…and thought perhaps I’d just say the tooth fairy had changed his policy and was now leaving teeth as memorabilia.  Finally, my fingers hit plastic and I made the switcheroo flawlessly- for the FIRST TIME EVER.  Upon returning to bed, I had to text someone and get some props…my sister is always good for a nice pat on the back- I got my gold medal.

I’ve been staring at my dearest daughter’s head for a few weeks now, knowing I needed to make a change…the crazy freestyle fro was slowly turning into matted dreads and whole flattened areas- a disaster.  After spending 45 minutes massaging her scalp with several different conditioners and moisturizers and brushing through every last strand, I bit the bullet and went for pig tails.  I’ve always felt like I had some freedom with her hair because it’s different than full blown African American hair- it is softer and looser- hence why I’ve not inducted her into the bonding time that is mother/daughter hair care.  But this week I realized it’s gotta happen.  I cannot let her hair go free anymore.  It’s not right.  Soon enough I will find someone who can tackle braids or something fancy, but for now this just means enduring tears on the regular, perhaps from us both.

And last but not least…my dearest husband is now unemployed.  I’m sure most of you just skipped through the rest of this post (how rude! jk) so I’ll get right to it.  Bart’s company offered him a promotion this week, which included a move to North Carolina…super exciting, shocking, but very generous.  His job is how God moved us out to NJ four years ago and has been such an amazing gift to our family for the last 8 years but we clearly heard God prompting us to say no to this incredible offer.  In effect, this meant there wasn’t a job left for Bart anymore.  We feel such a peace about the decision and are so grateful for His leading…it’s exciting to see what’s next and so far, we are feeling really good.  We have no idea what’s next…no clue…we fully believe that just because God said no to NC with Ivy doesn’t mean He couldn’t say yes to some other place, but who knows?!   We are very expectant and feeling lots of grace to trust Him in this right now.  Pray for us, and for Bart to find a job…it’s kinda important in this day and age. Until then, I’m really really enjoying having him around all day, err day.

I couldn’t think of anything Regan’s lost, which is why I left him out of this post.  He is praying daily for his teeth to fall out, which I keep trying to explain will happen in their own time…alas.  He just wants the treats. I’m not sure I can keep going with this tooth fairy mirage- I get overwhelmed thinking about how many teeth are going to fall out in the next ten years.  Oh dear.  Could I create a tooth fairy house?  Put your tooth in there and in the morning, check it…it’s where she sleeps and since she’s overworked, it’s kinder to just leave it at her house instead of making her fly to us every time.  Yeah?  And I know what some of your are thinking…we don’t do santa or the easter bunny…how’d the tooth fairy weasel in?  Five words:  my dad is a dentist.